EDITORIAL – This minimum-wage and tips system costs too much

LIQUOR SERVERS will, eventually, make as much in wages as other minimum-wage earners in B.C. and it makes total sense.

Currently, they get only $10.10 an hour, compared to the regular minimum of $11.35. That’s supposed to account for tips, but the provincial government has recognized that not all servers have the same opportunities for tips, so the discrepancy will be phased out over the next few years.

Of course, any time increasing the minimum wage for anybody comes up, employers complain about what it’s going to cost them, and start talking about layoffs.

I wonder if those people ever stop to think about what it costs their businesses every time an employee quits in order to get a decent paying job somewhere else, and the employer has to backfill with overtime pay and then train a new worker to replace the old one.

Employee turnover is among the biggest hidden costs of doing business. It stands to reason that the crummier the paycheque, the more an employee is going to be on the lookout for something better.

So when one of them quits, and a new worker comes on board, a supervisor must take the time to show him or her the ropes for days or weeks, cutting staff efficiency and driving up the costs of production.

This is worth thousands of dollars in recruitment costs, administration and training each time it happens. One U.S. study concluded that replacing an $8-and-hour employee costs an average of $9,444.47.

And why can’t we get rid of the tip system? We all know it’s a royal pain.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a flat-rate taxi ride to an airport and when we arrived, the cabbie — who hadn’t spoken a word until then — politely informed me, “That’ll be $63 plus tip.”

This whole tipping thing is a topic for another day, but in the meantime there are a lot of bosses out there who would do well to wake up to the poor economics of paying low wages.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on and CFJC Today. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (6683 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – This minimum-wage and tips system costs too much

  1. I have always felt that the wage paid to liquor servers, compared to the minimum wage paid to everyone else was discriminatory . I ‘m surprised that no one ever challenged that wage difference. As for your taxi driver, the moment he said ” plus tip “, he would have received the exact fair, and no tip from me at all.

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